Resourceful Renovator worked with our clients to turn this former historic, single family home into a duplex. The house had previously been owned by an eccentric collector and had been an eyesore in the town’s village for years before it was foreclosed upon by the bank. The condition of the house made the project very challenging, but we knew there was a gorgeous house hiding underneath the years of neglect. Great care was taken to preserve the historic nature of the house, and reuse as much as possible.
We love and appreciate antique fixtures, but not antiquated house systems. All new systems needed to be installed: new plumbing, heating and electrical. Before this work could be done, our crew spent weeks opening up the space and reframing walls. What we found was a pleasant surprise… the bones of this old house were in good shape and the layout was easy to work with. There was only one space that needed to be completely reframed: the existing roof on the back half was under-framed so the space was unusable due to the low ceiling height. Subsequently, we framed a new roof while adding a few feet to the height. This allowed us to move the staircase, add a bathroom, and create a great open space.
Improving efficiency is a big part of all of our projects. For this project, a combination of spray foam and cellulose insulation was used for an efficient, yet affordable, plan. We also installed new Marvin windows that were spec’ed to match the look of the original 6 over 6. Vapor barriers, housewrap, and high efficiency fixtures and appliances all play a part in bringing the old house in line with modern expectations (and codes!)
Aesthetically, there were several improvements that allowed this house to shine. The biggest achievement was sanding all of the original wood floors. In the front half of the house, the kitchen floor turned out to be 12” wide, maple flooring. The upstairs boasted 18” wide, gorgeous boards in the hallway. In the back bedroom, we carefully re-installed beautiful old wood that was salvaged from the front attic. Other design details included: exposed corner posts throughout the front half which add character and warmth to each room; salvaged interior trim that was carefully reinstalled; and all hardware and interior doors that were original. Lastly, the exterior of the house was resided with fiber cement siding and trim that was pre-painted white. This added a classic final touch and fit in wonderfully within this historic village setting.
Although this project felt like a battle at times, it was a huge success. In the end, the house was updated for the 21st century and provides two great homes for local families. It vastly improves the village while still preserving the integrity of the old home both outside and in. Khalil Gibran said it best: “Love is work made visible.”